So, Chinese New Year has crept up on me this year. It seems like Christmas is just over and I've only barely had time to put away the Christmas decorations. Now, there's only two days to go before Chinese Lunar New Year. What more, the weather is warmer this year than I have come to expect from the last 10 or so years. Seems like I have skipped through to spring.
Anyhow, I have sprung into action. Did a bunch of shopping at the Wanchai market area. Lanterns, couplets and other auspicious decorations; candies and sweetmeats for my candy dish. I also bought the ingredients for a sweet soup 薏米腐竹糖水 barley soyabean sweet soup from the one shop with the best quality soya bean sheets.
Then I headed to the North Point market for fresh flowers and narcissus 水仙花 ($25 per bulb); and the ingredients for water chestnut cake, coconut pudding and taro pudding 芋頭糕. I'll hold off on making radish cake for the moment as I was given one.
Now for some recipes:
Barley soyabean sweet soup 薏米腐竹糖水
1 tael (両 or chinese ounce which is about 75 gm when I weighed at home) barley
1 tael gingko nut (白果)
1/2 - 1 tael soyabean sheets 腐竹
Rock sugar, to taste
- Wash barley and boil in a pot with about 2 litres of water. When boiling, turn to low heat. Partially cover the pot. Do not cover the pot tightly with a lid as the soup will bubble and boil over.
- Crack the gingko nuts, remove the shell and peel off the brown skin.
- Add the peeled gingko after about an hour.
- Boil until the barley and the gingko are soft. Top up with water as needed. This should take a total of about 2 hours. Alternatively, to reduce boiling time, you could soak the barley grains for a few hours before boiling.
- Add soyabean sheets. These should soften and dissolve and the sweet soup will be milky white. (*). Add soyabean sheets until you get the desired "milkiness".
- Add rock sugar, according to taste. I was told by the shop staff that the the soyabean sheets will not dissolve if you add the sugar before the soyabean sheets. Never tested this theory.
* If the soyabean sheets do not dissolve quickly or at all, get them from a different source next time. The worse one I have ever purchased was a "fresh" version from the Happy Valley market. The sheets not only did not dissolve, they were still chewy after 2 hours of boiling! Now, I always get the ingredients from Shang Cheung 生昌 Trading Co. at 11 Fleming Road Wan Chai.
芋頭糕 recipe next (I am rather annoyed I had forgotten to take pictures as I was cooking yesterday as I was in a rush to make my 6 pm appointment at the Apple shop to get my mobile phone fixed.)